Academic journal article American Studies

LATINO HEARTLAND: Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest

Academic journal article American Studies

LATINO HEARTLAND: Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest

Article excerpt

LATINO HEARTLAND: Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest. By Sujey Vega. New York: New York University Press. 2015.

In the last twenty-five years, since the aftermath of the publication of Dinoicio Valdes Al Norte: Agricultural Workers in the Great Lakes Region, 1917-1970, various scholarship has documented the Mexican/Latino working class experience in the North American Midwest. Sujey Vega has recently added a new ethnographic history to the Mexican and Latino experience in Greater Lafayette, Indiana. Vega argues that ethnic populations have a rich cultural and political historical memory in central Indiana and that the Anglo-American farmer image is an imaginary representation (4). In analyzing the film Hoosiers (1986), the author adopted the concept of Latino Hoosier to identify this research subject matter. (5) Historically, scholars and popular mythologists have implemented the term Hoosier to identify a person from the farmlands of the state of Indiana (11). Vega contends that Mexicans and Latinos have experienced racial and class conflicts with their Lafayette Anglo-American counterparts. (12) The author supports this claim by employing archival materials, oral interviews, ethnographic observations, and secondary sources.

Vega began the writing process of this text by explaining how the Latino Hoosier is re-imagining the cultural production of the state of Indiana. (15) For instance, she examines the 2005-2006 anti-immigration policy HR 4437, which led to rise of the current Latino Hoosier pro-immigrant social and political movement. Vega spent most of this monograph contextualizing how Mexicans and Latinos impacted the historical, cultural, and social representations of the Hoosier heartland. Chapter one examines the making of race and class relations from late nineteenth and twentieth century European immigration to 2006 (22). The next chapter provides a contextualization of the creation of Mexican and Latino Greater Lafayette community borders, which were designed by their Anglo-American counterparts (67). …

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